Quality vs quantity – the blogging dilemma

When I write, I want to write quality articles; articles which interest, amaze and inspire. Mediocre content annoy me. If ever I write something which I consider of low quality, I never publish it – I will either review it or scrap it.

A Wordle of blogging wordsI want to make a difference in the world, be it a small or big difference (I would prefer big) I have to start on a personal scale. If I can improve your life by changing the way you think and feel (for the better), and enriching your knowledge and understanding, then I am doing my job.

I love reading Jonny’s posts every week, they always interest me and many have inspired me to make (usually small) changes in my life and have often caused me to write something myself. Jonny posts once a week, on a Thursday – with the odd exception. Would he be able to post such great content if he posted twice a week? What about three times? I don’t know.

I am not meaning to pick on Jonny, once a week is just great and very appreciated. One day Jonny will stop writing as often, and one day he will stop writing all together. I hope that day is a long way off, and by that time I have no doubt that we will have other writers writing the quality and quantity of content that he writes.

The same goes for me. I get a lot from blogging at the moment, I love the researching and crafting process that goes into making an article, and I also love the responses. But one day I shall probably stop too.

Think about your favourite TV show, how often does it air? Usually (with exceptions) the best shows/series take months to produce and don’t launch every day/week of the year.

Blogging is the same. I want us to post 6 great articles a week. Jonny gives us one of those posts. I am usually able to provide another, and we often get the third from another writer – like Steve, Ron, Alan or another writer. Usually we only post 4 or 5 articles a week, and that’s fine. I would like to post 6, but would rather post 4 quality articles than 6 mediocre ones.

Blogs that post less often, usually don’t have such a great readership. It’s a fact. There are exceptions of course. What would a news site be, if it only published once a week?

If I was able to monetise Technology Bloggers so that I could run it as a business, then I could dedicate more time to it, as it would become a job, not just a hobby. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes we do host the odd bit of sponsored content, to help pay the hosting bills, and fund competitions, but this site is never going to make millions. I am not sure I would still want to blog, if it was solely for money though, so I don’t want to monetise the site.

So, here is the dilemma I have: produce okay content, daily; or produce quality content, less often.

I want to post 6 articles a week, only 3 are provided, who plugs the gap? Usually me. If I don’t I feel bad, as I don’t feel I have fulfilled my duty to the site. If I post the extra posts needed, but they aren’t quite as good as content I have produced before, I am angry that I let the posts go live.

There is a very fine balance which needs to be struck, and I am not sure I am there just yet.

Would you prefer to read 5 star articles once a week, 4 star articles twice a week, or 2 star articles daily?

The reason I am writing this is because I feel we had a great 2012, I had a great 2012 as a blogger, especially in the last few weeks. That said, I know my diary for 2013 is already looking pretty full. Friends, family, education, work and recreation all take a lot of our time, and rightly so. However other commitments I have, do mean that I will have less time to write in 2013.

Rest assured, I am not throwing in the towel and am going to continue to do my best to keep us up and running at full capacity, but there is a lot to do.

If you want to help, I am more than happy to accept suggestions. I would love to promote more users to author status, and give everyone more control.

Is The Right To Anonymous Blogging Under Threat?

The UK government has just published a draft Joint Parliamentary Committee report that may well effect bloggers like you and me. The bill is about defamation of character, but it includes some interesting points about blogging, and in particular anonymous posts. Although their aim is to lift the burden of policing blog comment from the service providers, it may have a knock on quasi censorship effect upon freedom of speech.

The ISP Review website contains all the links you need to read the proposal, and I should state that the draft is open for comment and contains specific questions that we should all maybe take time to think about and answer.

Big Brother is Watching You - PosterThe government want to protect people from slanderous remarks on blogs, as many people uses anonymity as a cover, feeling that they can say whatever they want without fear of reprise. The proposal is that any anonymous post that receives a complaint from any party must be removed immediately, or the name of the author made public, otherwise the blog owner will be held responsible and face the consequences of any libel case.

All well and good if we are just talking about a few snide remarks or even a good and possibly unjustified slagging off, but what about other uses of anonymity? People use blogs to anonymously blow the whistle on malpractice in all types of situation. In this case anyone can make a complaint about an anonymous post and it must be removed. An arbitrator looks at the complaint, but as already noted, any libel remains the responsibility of the blog owner unless they are willing and able to provide the author’s name. The effect will be that any organization or individual will be able to block the comment in an instant, by making a complaint that we could read as a direct threat to the blog owners survival.

The new draft on libel is a prime example of the manipulation of responsibility. Do you make the providers responsible and threaten them with a law suit because they put something online that someone takes exception to? They are big organizations, faceless and have money.  The blog owners do not however, and have a lot to lose.

So what about allowing your contributors to post anonymously? There is a need for anonymity in certain cases, people are much more likely to talk about sensitive issues if they do not have to reveal their names. There have been many cases brought to light that have turned out to be true examples of poor standards through anonymous posts.

How many blog owners will take the risk of going through a lengthy and expensive court case to defend the contents of an anonymous post? This is an option that in most cases I would think is not even feasible to contemplate.

To add just another thought, on occasion I have created a ‘false’ e mail account in order to register for a site that I did not want to have my real e mail address. I could have then used it to register with a website to get access to commenting, so it may well also be very difficult to determine who a named author actually is, further adding complications to already murky waters.

Help your readers follow your blog

This is the fifth in a series of articles in which I hope to share with you my knowledge of how and why Technology Bloggers has been so successful, so fast. Learn more about this series by reading our Technology Bloggers success article.

As many of you know I used to run a tech blog of my own – entitled Christopher Roberts Technology Blog. Now on that blog I made a key error that many bloggers still make today. I didn’t make it easy for people to ‘subscribe’ to my content.

If you have a great blog, but no really easy ways for people to subscribe, the chases are that you won’t be able to retain visitors for very long. If you have a blog with good, (not great, but good) content, but you give readers loads of ways and incentives to subscribe, then you are much more likely to get loyal readers.

So if you have good content you could have more visitors than someone with great content, simply because you make it easy for people to keep up to date with your content.

With Technology Bloggers I hope I have created a blog with great content from a load of fantastic authors, as well as multiple ways to receive that content, making it really easy to subscribe.

So how can you ‘help’ your readers to follow your blog? Everyone is different, so I find there is no ‘one way fits all’, but there are a few ways that I think cover them all.

FeedBurner

If you use FeedBurner, FeedBlitz or some other feed subscriber, you can instantly give readers tens of ways to follow your content. Check out our feed or look at the image below to see just how many ways FeedBurner lets users subscribe to your feed.

Ways to subscribe using FeedBurner

Ways in which you can subscribe to Technology Bloggers via our (FeedBurner) RSS feed

Furthermore, if you use FeedBurner, you can get your feed to link into your Twitter account. This means that every new article you publish can appear in your twitter stream just seconds after publication. This means that all those people who prefer to receive updates via social media, can do so via Twitter.

Another great feature about FeedBurner is that it lets you give readers the option to subscribe via email. On the sidebar of every page of our blog you can input your email and get updates by email. Interested in trying it out?

You can use Facebook too

Facebook also gives you the option to import a feed as notes which can appear as a status update. Import your RSS feed to Facebook page and you create yet another way for people to follow your blog and read your content. All you need to is ‘like’ Technology Bloggers and you can get our feed! The one thing I would say about Facebook is that its updates aren’t nearly as frequent as Twitters are!

Click ‘Like’ below to see what I mean.

So now you know that you need to make it easy for people to follow your blog, do you have any amendments to make to your feed or social profiles?

Useful reference: How to add an email subscription form to your blog.

Respect: give it to get it

This is the third in a series of articles in which I hope to share with you my knowledge of how and why Technology Bloggers has been so successful, so fast. Learn more about this series by reading our Technology Bloggers success article.

I believe that respect is one of the most crucial things in blogging. If you are good to your readers, your readers will be good to you.


Respect - Give It To Get It

To build up a great community (like the one on this blog) you have to be a friendly author. Most of our authors, myself included, don’t just leave their article once it is written, they check back every few days and reply to comments.

But it’s not just about being a good commenter.

Being a dofollow blog is one of the main reasons for the success of this blog. People come here because they know they will be treated well.

You have heard it all before but I shall sumarise it again: if you read you benefit from out great content and the ability to comment and gain dofollow keyword rich links to your latest content; if you write you also have the ability to get dofollow keyword rich links links to your content in your article, and (if you are of author status or higher) you can get a link to your chosen site on the sidebar.

I believe that if you offer people fantastic content from a variety of different authors, as well as dofollow keyword rich links in comments, matched with great incentives to write, you have a recipe for success!

Not 100% convinced about dofollow? Well it is thought that it might lower your PageRank, especially on individual articles, and there are some rumors that it can harm you in the SERP’s, but from my personal experience, I believe that the benefits outweigh the costs.

Need some proof? Here are just a few great blogs which are very successful and are dofollow:

Check their traffic ranking. Notice anything? Dofollow blogs with great content, also the authors usually try to respond to any comments in need of a reply.

Are you a dofollow blog? If not why not? From my experience with Technology Bloggers and my own philosophy blog, dofollow is one way of succeeding in blogging.

Why does dofollow work?

I believe it all comes back down to respect, you are respecting your writers and readers, so in tern they respect you.

If you run a nofollow blog, try switching. Do it today and never look back 🙂

Back next Monday with the next in the series!